Tuesday, December 28, 2010

D&C and Next Steps

I delayed posting this because really, who wants to read about a D&C at Christmas? Not me. But I wanted to get this out and over with before the start of the new year. That way we can put this horrible mess behind us and try to move forward.

On Thursday Dec 2nd Hammer and I drove to the outpatient surgery center. I had been NPO (no food or liquids) since midnight and my stomach was a ball of nerves. We checked in at the front desk and I swear the lady knew why I was there because she kept giving us these, “I’m so sorry” eyes the whole time. Hammer and I sat in the waiting room and I snuggled into him with my head on his shoulder. I could not believe that we were actually waiting to have this procedure and my eyes would well up with tears from time to time. Finally a nurse came to take me back to the pre-op room and I had to leave Hammer behind for a bit. As we walked towards the big double doors to the pre-op area I had to stop and broke down and cried. The Nurse gave me a big hug and I apologized that the reality of what was about to happen just hit me hard. She wrapped her arms around my shoulders and said that we’d walk through together. And we did just that all the way to my pre-op room. Once she drew the curtains closed she gave me a huge hug and then to my surprise told me that the Lord has not forgotten me and has plans for us. Wow. She was so sweet getting me settled in and once she was done she went and got Hammer so he could sit with me. While we waited in pre-op Hammer kept kissing me and telling me to remember each one. And then at one point he told me that he was talking his vitamins because he heard that couples are more fertile after this procedure. We had a longer wait than expected because our anesthesiologist got a phone consult. During that time I kept rubbing my tummy and saying goodbye to the little one that was not meant to be. Once he was off the phone he came in to tell me what anesthesia I would be on but really all I cared about was that I was out cold and wouldn’t remember a thing.

Finally they came to take me back. I was wheeled into the operating room and helped up on to the table. The anesthesiologist asked me some questions which I don’t really remember now because he was adding my drugs to the IV. I do remember my doctor attaching the leg harnesses to the table and I had a moment where I realized what an unattractive position I was about to be in with my legs splayed in the air. And at that same moment I realized the lights were spinning around above me and the last thing I remember saying was, “Oh good, the lights are starting to look funny.” And I was out. The next thing I remember was coming to in the recovery room. My first instinct was to reach out and touch my stomach but that brought on the realization that it was all gone now and I wept. I had a new nurse attending to me and she brought me tissues and sat with me. And to my amazement again this new nurse told me that the Lord has plans for us. She let me cry, comforted me and never left my side except to get Hammer when it was time to leave. It was overwhelming to think who these women are that spoke words of comfort to me in our time of sadness. They did not know us, our faith, what we had been through but both of them spoke the same words, “The Lord has plans for us.”

I spent the rest of the day sleeping off my anesthesia on the couch while Hammer took care of me. I was sore and had to take ES Tylen.ol for the pain. The next day my mom came and stayed with me while Hammer went back to work. Later in the day my brother stopped in to keep us company and watch movies. By evening time Hammer came home from work and my dad even stopped by. We all had dinner together and honestly it didn’t feel intrusive or overwhelming, in fact I enjoyed having them all there.

Saturday, Hammer was determined to make our house look Christmas-y. Secretly I think he thought it would cheer me up. He put up the outside lights and even took me out to get a tree. I only wanted a small one but we ended up leaving with the biggest tree we’ve ever had. The stump barely fit in our tree stand. But Hammer insisted on it even though he had to carry and put it up with very minimal help on my part. Later that day he brought up all the boxes of decorations even though he ended up putting most of them by himself once I had tuckered out and passed out on the couch. I appreciated all he did that day as my initial response was to do nothing this year. But now that Christmas has come and gone I think it would have just put me in a more depressed mood to have done nothing.

Sunday evening was my parent’s church’s annual Christmas Cantata which my mother performs in every year. It’s also the church where Hammer and I were married. While we attended I don’t think I was prepared for the overwhelming flood of emotions that hit me. Sitting there made me think about all the dreams and plans of a future together, of a family that were made on our wedding day. And now we sat there 6 years into our marriage, childless, with nothing to show but years of heartache and two losses. I broke down into tears and cried nearly the whole time.

Afterwards they had refreshments and I ran in to the choir director and his wife. They learned that morning of our loss when my mother shared with them what had occurred (she had asked me first). They went on to tell me that their own daughter is now expecting after 7 years of trying and loss and she too had been silent about their struggle and asked her parents to say nothing. Because of this they had suspected that we were having the same issues and revealed that they had been praying for us for the last two years. I was so touched and it brought me to tears once again. I now understand why my mom had asked to share with them.

Three times I had been touched by words of comfort; twice from a stranger and once by a family friend who I had been reluctant to let into our struggle. It has made me realize that we are not forgotten and that the support of trusted family and friends is so important. I will not sugar coat the fact that going through our second Christmas in a row after a miscarriage is one of the most difficult experiences to endure. But I do feel hopeful and I don’t know why exactly but I just feel like we are going to be ok.

We have an appointment for Hammer with an Andrologist at the end of January and maybe we’ll get more answers. But for right now the fertility treatments are done. We still need to discuss the option of embryo adoption but the appointment for the adoption agency is on hold until next year. We just need some time. I am still waiting for my period to come. I’ve read that it takes 10 days after the procedure for your hormones to come down and 20 days without bleeding for your body to reset properly. I have not had any bleeding since the day of the procedure and we’re now at 26 days post D&C. Hopefully AF will be coming soon. I’m actually looking forward to her arrival as it will finally signal the end of this whole debacle. Our results from the D&C are not back yet but we will have an appointment hopefully in the next couple of weeks to discuss the results of the testing and my blood work. Right now I am just using the clinic to get the testing done and trying not to burn bridges in case we need to use them for embryo adoption. I hope that 2011 will finally be the year for us to expand our family one way or another.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Wrapping my Mind Around it All

Now that it's been a little over a week since our D&C I've been trying to get a grip on everything that happened starting with how our IVF cycle ended now that I have all of the information. So here is the whole synopsis.

I guess when they called us with our blood hcg on 10.23.10 the level was 5 and apparently anything 5 and under is negative. So the RN just told me the blood value was negative. I got my period the next day which I thought was odd because normally after I stopped the progesterone it takes like 3 days to come. But I figured it was a blessing. I had a normal 4 day, full blood, yucky, crampy period. Then we went about our lives trying to move on. We went out, ate sushi, drank wine (a glass) etc. I was tired but it was also daylights savings time so figured my body wasn’t adjusting well. Then around Nov 8th or so I was having mild nausea but it would come and go and wouldn’t be every day so I really thought nothing of it. That same day I started having what I thought was ovulation pain on the left side. I had that sharp twitching that lasted just for a a few seconds and never happened again. I went home that afternoon and took an ovulation test which came up very positive. Even though we didn't 'prep' Hammer for that cycle we did enjoy our selves that night. I had ordered some Instead Cups as I had heard they might help keep the boys up near your cervix. I thought this would be a good time to try them out but certainly didn't think that anything would come of it. On a side note, the Instead Cups fit "most" women but I am not one of those women. When I took the cup out after only a few hours and feeling very uncomfortable the whole time I saw blood and it freaked me out. I have never had mid cycle spotting but I figured that maybe I just irritated my cervix too much trying to make my first attempt to put it in. Total disaster. So I resolved to get a Diva Cup instead which come in different sizes. November 11th was our meeting with the RE and while I sat in the office with him making random guesses that my eggs must be bad because "what's left," I was actually pregnant, oh the irony.

I went to get the flu shot on Monday Nov 15th and had to fill out the same form 3 times because I kept circling ‘yes’ that I was pregnant and I totally didn’t think I was. I chucked it up to wishful thinking and fatigue and got the shot. A few days later the nausea came in full force and while I never got sick it was hit or miss if I could get up the urge to eat anything. I thought I got the stomach flu from the shot and totally forgot about how I had mild nausea the week before. Later in the week my mother kept telling me to take a HPT but I refused rationalizing that it didn't make sense because I was only a week and a half post ovulation, or so I thought. So certainly my nausea couldn't be morning sickness. My period was supposed to arrive on Friday Nov 19th but because we’ve been dealing with this for 4 ½ years I’m not really quick to test and wanted to wait to see if it was actually late. We had a wedding for my cousin that weekend so we were out of town and staying at my parents house. I have to admit that over this weekend I did start to get suspicious. My boobs were totally getting sore, the fatigue was setting in but the nausea was lifting a bit and the food cravings and aversions were starting. I was starting to feel more like I did with our first pregnancy where my symptoms started right away. So based upon that factor I thought that maybe we did get pregnant on our own. I never thought that it could be from our IVF cycle because I had a blood test that was negative and period!

When Monday Nov 22 rolled around and my period was nowhere in sight I took a test and it came up positive immediately. Hammer and I were shocked but we totally thought that it had happened naturally. I called my RE and asked for a blood test. The next day we were shocked again to hear it was over 61,000 which falls around levels for 8 ½ to 9 weeks. They immediately scheduled us for an u/s the next day. I took the day off of work just in case which turned out to be a very good decision. At the ultrasound the room was a bit crowded as it was our RE, a student, Hammer and myself. When the image of our baby showed up on the monitor I was totally shocked to see just how far along we were. This was the first time we had ever seen not only a placenta, but an aminotic sac and a little baby attached by it's umbilical cord. It had little hands and feet but as much as I tried to see it there was no flicker on the screen. I kept saying "I don't understand, I had a period, I had a negative blood test." Our doctor did measurements and officially told us that he didn't see a heart beat. He then started rambling on about the crown-to-rump length but honestly after I heard that there was no heart beat I didn't hear anything else. I was in total shock but I do remember telling him that I can't end the pregnancy just yet. After the ultrasound we went back to his office and I slumped into one of the chairs and kept saying, "I don't understand" over and over again. He said that we would be just fine waiting till next week and had his RN schedule another ultrasound for the following Wednesday. When we left the office we went to see my mom who was in town and told both her and my brother, who happened to be there, our shocking news. My mom is a former pathophysiology professor so she was whipping out her manuals and asking us developmentally what we saw on the monitor. It was at about 7 1/2 to 8 weeks development. We went through Thanksgiving weekend in a state of shock and sadness. I totally felt pregnancy symptoms the entire time which was confusing. I could barely eat any of the Thanksgiving meal as I was having food aversions and spent most of the night asleep on the sofa at my Aunt and Uncles house. As the week went on leading up to our appointment I noticed that I started showing. I also discovered I could only fit into two pairs of pants. I'm not a large person so it was very apparent that at only 91/2 -10 weeks that my tummy was sticking out already making it much more emotionally difficult to know that our baby was gone.

The day before I requested to have my hcg and progesterone done so we would have the results at our appointment. The following Wed I had both Hammer and my mother come with me. I also requested no student be present as it was just too much to handle that again. Unfortunately the ultrasound confirmed again what we had already learned the previous week. My mom was there to ask questions that we just wouldn't think of to ask or be too emotional. The baby looked smaller on the screen but I think it just wasn't as good of an angle as the last time. This time we could wrap our minds around it a bit more and felt more prepared to make a decision. My hcg though had continued to go up and was now near 70,000 while my progesterone was only 6. I was hoping that maybe if the hcg was going down it would help make a decision but I was surprised to hear about the progesterone. I have to say it made me suspicious since I hadn't been on progesterone at all. But our RE said that the majority of women don't need the progesterone and likely what I thought was ovulation was my corpus lutem twitching as it worked to increase the progesterone. But I still wonder as I have heard that low progesterone that does not cause bleeding can still cause a decreased amount of blood to the fetus. Our RE offered to let us go another week if we needed it and did say that we could do the Cytotec to bring on a natural miscarriage. But I was completely traumatized by that experience and I only had a gestational sac of 5 weeks that time. We decided to do a D&C because we wanted to have a pathology report done to see if it would give us some answers since we've tried for so long to get this far only to have so much happen and end in tragedy. I had a d&c scheduled for the next day (Dec 2). Since I was 10 week along and my placenta was quite large I didn’t want to try to have a natural miscarriage anyway. There was no knowing when it would actually happen since my hcg kept on rising and I was totally showing already. I don’t think I could have handled having to buy maternity pants just to wait out a miscarriage. And since I didn’t have any medical care, i.e. I stopped my progesterone and thyroid medication, we wanted to know if that was the cause of our loss or if it was genetic.

[I'm going to brag about my mom here because I think she is amazing]
On another note, my mom hated our RE. It made all my feelings more justified. I completely trust her medical opinion above all else as she is literally a walking medical dictionary. And she went head to head with him on the DNA fragmentation. Apparently because I had been talking to her about it she went and looked up the research herself. As editor of a medical journal and NIH grant reviewer she knows good research from bad and agrees with the research on DNA fragmentation as a likely cause of our issues. As we sat there still in shock and disappointment we did enjoy our RE getting his butt handed to him while my mom argued her points. Way to go mom.

Upcoming post...D&C and next steps.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

At Peace

Thank you for all your prayers and support.  Today we went in for a follow up ultrasound but we did not see any growth or signs of a heart beat.  I am scheduled for a D&C tomorrow morning.  Last time I did the Cytotec pills but that was when I just had a small sac and this is much more significant.  Also this way Hammer and I can have a pathology report done to see why we lost our little one.

It is interesting to note that when we questioned further if our first beta was truly negative we found out that it was in fact 5.  Apparently they categorize anything 5 or less as negative.   That is fine except that ours was clearly not a true negative.  It has shaken my confidence in our clinic and leaves me feeling that they helped put us in this bad position.  I know it might not have changed the outcome but it does add to our frustrations. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Shocking Update and Desperate Need for Prayer

Oh where do I even begin.  So I was expecting my period on Friday of last week but it was late.  I decided that maybe I was still messed up from IVF so Hammer and I decided to wait until Monday to test if I hadn't gotten my period yet.  When Monday rolled around and AF was no where to be seen I pulled out a free internet cheapie, did the deed and in mere seconds the test turned up positive.  We were shocked.

I called my RE's nurse that morning and went in for a blood draw late that afternoon.  Some where around 11am the next day I got a call but I could not have been prepared for what she was about to tell me.  My HCG was over 60,000.   I was speechless.  She told me that my RE thought that maybe the first beta was a false negative but since I 'bled' i.e. thought I got my period, we didn't do the repeat beta. 

I was scheduled for an ultrasound today at 10:30.  Sure enough there was a gestational sac, yolk sac, and fetal pole.  But to our dismay there was no heart beat.  The baby is measuring a bit off based upon dates, i.e. more like 7 weeks.

Hammer and I have decided to wait and do a repeat ultrasound next Wednesday.  We are asking for you to pray with us for a miracle.  Our hope is that some how this baby implanted so ridiculously late that we are just looking too early for a heart beat.  We know that the chances are extremely slim but God does do miracles. 

I still cannot get over the fact that I've been walking around for the last four weeks completely unaware that I was even pregnant.  Looking back I did have some tell tale symptoms.  But I think because I had such heavy bleeding immediately after our negative results, and that the bleeding lasted for four days we just could not imagine that I could be pregnant.  I mean for Pete's sake I thought I ovulated.  I even took an ovulation test!  As a side note I did go back and pee on another ovulation stick to see if maybe it would come up positive now that I knew I was pregnant and it did so I am just floored and very confused.  Please pray for us during this time.  We can barely wrap our minds around what has all transpired in the last three days.  Going from thinking we conceived on our own, to having extremely high hcg, to an ultrasound without a heart beat.  It's just excruciating and even more painful having seen a little baby with it's tiny arms and legs inside of me.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fertility Misfits

We had our WTF(lip) meeting last Thursday (11/11) and we walked out of there more frustrated than before. This is why I have taken my time posting about it because I’ve had to wrap my mind around all the emotions I’ve been having since then.

Our RE’s determination is that I have poor egg quality. When asked what makes him think this his reply was, “What else is there?” I argued my normal FSH, AMH, normal to low-normal ovarian reserve, and our quality day 3 embryos which are powered on my egg’s DNA as well as my husband’s DNA fragmentation. His reply was that he really didn’t believe in the DNA fragmentation so the only thing left was that it must be my eggs. He continued that regardless of what the labs might say I didn’t stimulate the best so it must be my eggs. But when I brought up that a poor responder was categorized as someone who makes less than 4 mature eggs and that has not been the case with me. I always have ended up with 6 or more mature eggs at retrieval. I may not respond great but I also don’t think I was on the right protocol for me. Our RE shrugged and said that this was the best guess he could give us since he didn’t believe in the sperm DNA. Nice. This is why I wanted to go somewhere else for our last IVF. Clearly I was not going to win this battle and it was better to drop it since I still needed their help for a few things.

We asked for a copy of our records for a few reasons A) We wanted all of the SAs that we’d had since being there B) I wanted documentation of all the drugs I had been on C) and we might get a second opinion at another clinic about 2 hours south of where we live (this is a big might by the way). We also got the names of two physicians that specialize in male reproductive health. Not just a urologist but an andrologist. There were only two physicians that I had found on my own that work in this specialty in our state and it was good to know that these were the only two which were recommended. So we have our appointment set up for January 14th. We went with the younger of the two because we are both sick and tired of older physicians who are so set in their ways. Plus the younger one does some of the newer surgical techniques that are better and less invasive so we are also hoping he might be more open to our DNA problem as well. The other one had been practicing for over 30 years and he sounds as old as the hills. I’m sure he’s very smart but I don’t want to go from one old dog (RE) to another only to find out that he just agrees with our RE.

We also found out more about the embryo donation program at our clinic. Basically they require that the couple has to have used donor eggs first. What? What if you have a male factor issues? Nope, they make you have to use donor sperm and you are not eligible for donor embryos. Well that is just not an option for us for our own personal reasons. I’m not forking out the money for donor eggs just to have them fizzle out as well because of our retarded sperm so that we can get donor embryos for ‘free.’ But we did hear good things about a clinic in Tennessee that is very reasonable in price although we still have to do the homestudy piece with them. (Apparently that is not a requirement with our clinic)

So our next step in that adventure is meeting with a local adoption agency to do the homestudy. Hammer works with a guy whose sister-in-law is a co-founder of one of the largest agencies in our city. His co-worker is going to pull some strings to get us in quickly to start the discussion. So you know, these strings won’t get us a better homestudy or a quicker match so we’re not bumping anyone.

In the meantime, my body actually ovulated on its own, ON TIME. Wow. That has never happened before the first cycle after IVF. I was thankful that I didn’t have to go through more frustrations with my own body. I was totally caught off guard by it so we missed taking advantage of it but honestly I don’t think we could have even been emotionally ready so it’s no big deal. In the last few weeks we did decided that if we were going to continuing trying on our own we’d invest in a fertility monitor. I ended up buying an Ovacue because it gives you an estimate of ovulation 5-7 days in advance. Since we have to ‘prep’ Hammer for 7 days prior to BDing for ovulation I thought this was better than a Clearblue which is only 2-3 days warning. The other benefit is that you don’t have to buy any test strips as it has a sensor that tests the hormones in your saliva. Apparently all these hormones show up in your saliva before they even hit your blood or your urine. So we’ll see how that goes and I’ll keep you updated. Eventually I will likely make an appointment with the doc who does NaPro technology but for right now this is MORE than enough to keep us busy. That and we just want to enjoy the holidays. So on that note, if I don’t post before hand – Happy Thanksgiving to you all. I may not be commenting on your blogs but I am reading them, all of them (and not just the ones on my blog roll which is seriously out of date!)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Day By Day

That’s how I’ve taken things, one day at a time. The first few days were spent very tearful and I was thankful to still be at the beach where I could just ‘be’ and hide my red swollen eyes behind sunglasses. On the way home we stopped to visit one of my husband’s best friends. When they get together it’s a non-stop laughing session. And we needed it. We needed to laugh so hard at the dumbest things until our sides hurt, until it hurt to breathe, until we cried because for the last few days these things were brought on by sorrow and not laughter. We needed laughter.

During the drive home we tried to talk about ‘what next’ because it’s helpful to me but not for Hammer. He needed time and I needed to plan and the discussions were not productive. So we had to back off. I found it more difficult to handle the emotions now that we were headed home. Its one thing to lie on a beach and accept the outcome but it’s another to have to head back to your life and realize that it will not include a pregnancy and a child of our own.

We both took the day after our return off of work to recover, do laundry and catch up on things. It was also an intentional day off just in case things didn’t go ‘as planned’, which they didn’t, and I thought I would need an extra day to just absorb everything that had happened. At work I put on a ‘happy face’ and gushed about the perfect weather, kayaking in the ocean, watching dolphins, everything except the most important thing because I keep my work life separate from my personal. On my first two days back I had to conduct a training for about 20 staff. It’s one I do twice a year so I know it like the back of my hand and it was so good for me to not have time to think and to just be busy.

And so we’ve kept busy by having dinner with friends, seeing local music, attending fall parties; anything and everything so we don’t have to think about what could have been. I’ve gone four days without crying. I’ve held newborn babies. I’ve laughed. I’ve eaten sushi and drank wine. But I don’t feel free. I thought that after it was over that I’d feel ready to move on to something new that held more promise of expanding our family. Maybe I just need more time. But I still have this nagging feeling that I can’t shake. I can’t explain it.

Hammer and I have talked some more now that we’ve assimilated back into our regular schedules. There is just one last piece that both of us want to pursue. Hammer has never been evaluated for MFI. After all this time (4 years!) we’ve had mixed opinions by our doctors on is or is he not affected by MFI. His first SA showed him just above the cut off for normal. His first three IUI post washes were a dismal 11, 13 & 17 million. And of course, let’s not forget his DNA frag at 48%. We did find out that after vitaminizing the heck out of him he posted a prewash of 100 mil and a post wash of 56 mil. But clearly whatever is affecting the DNA is making a viable pregnancy impossible. So we’d like to at least have someone check to see if there is something that can be corrected. Even if we are going to be pursing adoption that does not mean that we’re not going to be praying for a miracle so why not at least check things out. This means that we’ll also be looking into a urologist in our area that specializes in MFI just to make sure that we haven’t missed anything. We will also have our last WTF(lip) appointment on the 11th where we hope to find out more about our clinic’s embryo donation program, get a copy of our records and find out if they have recommendations for a referral for Hammer.

But for right now my goal is five days without crying.

Monday, November 1, 2010

IVF #4 Summary

8/22 - Hello friend = AF shows

8/23 -> 9/29 - Acupunture

8/24 - FSH = 5.5 (yeah!)

8/24 -> 9/13 - BCP

9/6 -> 9/24 - Lupron 10 U/d

9/21 baseline u/s - E2 = 16 supressed; total of 13 antral follicles puts me in the low normal category which is excellent for me!

9/25 -> 10/6 Lupron 5 u/d

9/25 -> 10/6 - Gonal 225 u am & pm

9/29 - follie check #1 L = 6 follies R = 2 follies Lining = ~5mm E2 = 127

10/1 -> 10/6 Luveris 75 u/d

10/2 - follie check #2 L= 14, 13, 11, 9, 9 R = 13, 12, 8 Lining = 8mm E2 = 737

10/5 - follie check #3 L= 20, 20, 17, 16, 16, 13 R= 19, 15, 10 Lining = 10mm E2 = 1,915 *Best ever!

10/5 - trigger 10pm

10/6 - TSH = 2.54, Free T4 = 1.1

10/7 - retrieval day = 9 eggs retrieved

10/7-> 10/12 - medrol 16mg

10/8 - Fert Report #1 Of 9 eggs retrieved, 7 were mature

4 fertilized normally
1 fertilized abnormally
2 did not fertilize

10/9 - Fert Report #2 "Ham"bryo's

4 cell - grade 1, 0% fragmentation
2 cell - grade 1, 0% fragmentation
4 cell - grade 3, 0% fragmentation
6 cell - grade 3, 0% fragmentation

10/10 - 3 day transfer

"Ham"bryos in the oven

10 cell - grade 1, 0% fragmentation
8 cell - grade 1, 0% fragmentation
8 cell - grade 1, 0% fragmentation
*Assisted Hatching performed

10/10 - acupuncture pre & post transfer

10/14 - progesterone check = 85.3

10/21 - beta #1 = Negative :(

Monday, October 25, 2010

Many Thanks

I just wanted to thank all of you for your kind words, thoughts and prayers of comfort.  We are, obviously, heart broken.  It's so frustrating to have done all of these treatments only to end with such certain finality.  I know that our issues with high DNA fragmentation make this situation a more likely outcome but it does not decrease the pain of another failure. 

While we will be taking some time to recover we will be moving on to adoption, possibly embryo adoption/donation and/or traditional domestic adoption.  Of course, just because you stop fertility treatments does not mean to stop trying and praying for a natural miracle.  We'll be exploring some other natural options as the adoption process can be long.  We have sp.erm and I do ovulate on my own so maybe with time we'll eventually have the right sperm meet the right egg...that is what happened with Hammer.  It took his parents 14 years before they conceived him and I can tell you that they were definitely not putting forth nearly as much effort as we have been. 

This blog will not end it will just change a bit.  I welcome you all to follow along with us as we continue to walk down this long and winding road to becoming parents.  You have been such a support system for me that I could not imagine continuing on this journey with out all of you.  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Mr & Mrs Hammer

Friday, October 22, 2010

Not meant to be

We just learned that our blood test was negative.  Three beautiful embroys...gone.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

24 hours

That's how long until we'll know the outcome.  On 10dp3dt I hadn't actually fallen asleep until 2 am and then woke up at 7:30 am.  I was so exhausted and I think I ended up with a migraine because my head was pounding all day and I was nauseated.  I ended up going to bed at 9:30 pm to try to get myself back on a schedule.  I did fall asleep but then woke up at 2 am, grrr....  I ended up tossing and turning and falling back in and out of sleep until about 8 am.  During that time I had wild, vivid dreams that were all over the place and made absolutely no sense.  On top of that, when I was up at 2 am I was extremely hot and cramping.  Not intense painful cramps but more like pre-AF cramps.  The cramps have continued today (11dp3dt) and I am STILL tired.  But the bbs are totally 100% not sore anymore :(  With our first pregnancy and chemical I had sore bbs so I'm concerned about that symptom being missing even though I know many women (several of them are you my dear readers) do not even have sore bbs.  At this point I'm totally confused and leaning towards it not having worked.  I did get my blood drawn today but we won't hear until tomorrow morning.  I still can't bring myself to test partially because I'm scared and the other part because I just don't want to waste the money if we're going to find out soon.  But I have to say the suspense is killing me.  I just want to know so I can be put out of my misery.  At this point I think we need a miracle.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The State of Affairs (9dp3dt)

It's 12:40 am and I can't sleep. Not that it's from worrying but I seriously have not been able to fall asleep. Things have changed since my last post. Even when I look back at my symptoms across the last few days I think, wow this could have worked. Except that beginning 8dp3dt (11po), which was the morning of my last post, my symptoms started disappearing over the course of the day. The sore bbs began to decrease and there was no cramping. Today at 9dp3dt they are practically non-existent although I have started with mild cramping this evening.

Last two cycles on 9dp3dt I had sharp painful cramps but these are very mild in comparison and more like typical PIO induced cramps. Maybe in the last two cycles that was late implantation? I have begun to wonder if maybe our embys tried to make it causing all those glorious symptoms early on but didn't which is why they are fading? I still can't bring myself to test so I'm left with going through all these mental hoops. When our cycle worked last time I was so fatigued compared to this time where sleep is evading me. Yesterday I was up at 6:30 am and again today. I was happy to see that I was fatigued all day today and was hoping that it was a good sign like last time but here I sit still typing away at 12:48 am. I just have a feeling that we'll be getting bad news on Friday. Hope is ever elusive and my faith is struggling to keep afloat. This is it for us, our last chance to have a child of our own. And while I do look back and remind myself that God gave us three beautiful embryos it is not a guarantee that it worked and that frightens me to death. Maybe I'm just doing too much thinking at too late of an hour. I think I do better in the day time when I can spend my time sitting on a lounge chair watching the ocean waves and pods of dolphins swim by every few minutes. Five and a half more hours till the sun comes up. One more day until beta.

Monday, October 18, 2010


The beach has been an amazing distraction.  I really don't have any desire to test prior to beta because I just don't want to ruin my vacation.  I'd rather not risk seeing a negative screen and possibly spoil a beautiful cloudless day on the beach.  Especially knowing what happened with IVF#2 where I had negative tests up until my beta of 24.

On the symptom spectrum, I've been all over the place:

  • 7dp3dt (10dpo) Sunday - cramping mainly on the right side, nausea, (TMI) loose stools, but no bloating & has gone away almost completely, super sore bbs
  • 6dp3dt (9dpo) Saturday - mild cramping, sore bbs, constipation, bloating ultra nauseas and nearly lost my dinner over night, room was almost spinning.
  • 5dp3dt (8dpo) Friday - nausea in AM resolved with eating, same at lunch, sore bbs, constipation, bloating
  • 4dp3dt (7dpo) Thursday - abdominal bloating, constipation, twinges & pulling (possibly from constipation?)

The lack of bloating and loose stools has me really thrown while the other symptoms are encouraging.  So I really just can't tell one way or another.  One minute I will feel like it didn't work so I'll talk to my emby's to let me know if they are there and then end up with a ton of symptoms.  It could go either way people.  I just think the bloating being gone is the most concerning but then Hammer reminds me that PIO can either give you constipation OR diarrhea and that if I have the latter I wouldn't really be bloated like I was last time when I was contstipated the whole cycle.  *sigh*

I think all this thinking calls for some sunbathing...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


This is a big day for the "Ham"bryos. If all is continuing to go well they should be hatching out of their shells and beginning implantation. We hope to have made this a bit easier for them by having done assisted hatching prior to the transfer. I've been having mild cramping on and off today and yesterday but this is pretty much par for the course as far as IVF cycles go. I think it must be the progesterone since this is the third time that the cramping has occurred and we have had BFN & BFP. So now I'm on 'twinge watch' to see if I can feel any twinges of implantation. I think I do but maybe I just want to feel it.

Right now I have indulged myself and have taken off the entire week since Thursday we are heading down to FL for vacation. Normally I'd be at work but I have to say this is much better. Yesterday, since I was feeling crampy in the morning, I continued to take it easy. Later that night, Hammer and I went to a concert. I was a bit concerned when I was there because the bass was so loud that there was massive vibration coming through the seat and into my pelvic region. I began to worry that I was literally shaking our babies to death but I have no idea if that's possible or not. Regardless I ended up kneeling on the cement during the opening band. I think the people around me thought I was crazy - they would be right. Once the headliner came out everyone was on their feet so no kneeling was needed and the bass was not nearly as bad.

Today I'm occupying my time with packing and wrapping up a few things before we take off tomorrow. I sure hope that this trip is an excellent distraction from all things 2ww related. I found that sitting at my desk at work only ended up in me pretending to work while I put myself through all the mental contortions of "Am I/Am I not" and sought Dr. Google hourly for confirmation. Maybe forced internet absence will be a good thing. Don't worry, it's not total absence. I promise to keep you all posted.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

"Ham"bryos are in the oven

Well the transfer went really well. We started off our day very early at the acupuncturist. I laid there envisioning my uterus getting ready for the 'planting' of our embryos and praying that we had healthy ones to transfer. We had been told to arrive at twenty after eight with a full bladder. But when we got there the clinic wasn't even open yet! Then I started to worry that the reason was because all of our embryos had died over night and they had cancelled but forgot to tell us. (irrational I know) But shortly after we saw the front desk girl pull widely into the parking lot, clearly late. My bladder has yet to forgive her.

We had the on-call RE who was wonderful and who was the same RE who did our retrieval. I think he performs the best retrievals at the practice because I felt so good afterwards unlike last time. Anyway, the RE came in with the report on our embryos to discuss what we would be transferring. We were shocked to hear the best report we have ever had!

10 cell - grade 1, 0% fragmentation
8 cell - grade 1, 0% fragmentation
8 cell - grade 1, 0% fragmentation

We've had maybe one 8 cell grade 1 but the rest have been of lower quality. So even though we've had more embryos the quality just was not as good. We ended up deciding to transfer all three and our RE highly recommended it since we've had previous failed cycles. Afterwards we headed back to the acupuncturist to 'cover' up our embryos. So now I'm back home on bed rest. We're praying that at least one makes it's home for the next few months.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Fert Report #2 - The Power of Prayer (aka keep it coming ladies!)

Thank you so much for all of your prayers and positive thoughts.  We got our call this morning at about 8:40 am regarding the transfer time.  We are all set for an 8:45 am ultrasound guided transfer for tomorrow.  While on the phone with the RN I asked if I would still get a call from the lab.  She said she wasn't sure but that if she got the message to schedule then everything should be going well.  So I hung up with her and immediately called my acupuncturist with the transfer time so that we can schedule our pre & post sessions.

Shortly after that my phone rang again.  It was the lab.  I was greated with a chipper female voice but the whole time I was holding my breath that maybe she was just one of those overly happy morning people bearing bad news.  On the contrary, she reported that all four of our embryos are growing strong.  Our lab grades early embryos on a scale of 1-5 (1 being the best) and then gives percent fragmenation.  Day 2 embryos should be between 2-4 cells.  Our little "Ham"bryos are:

4 cell - grade 1, 0% fragmentation
2 cell - grade 1, 0% fragmentation
4 cell - grade 3, 0% fragmentation
6 cell - grade 3, 0% fragmentation

Did you read that?  NO fragmenation!!!  The Embryologist encouraged us that the grade 3's having no fragmentation typically mean that they were in the process of dividing when she looked at them and not to be concerned at all.  She said that everything looks perfect.  We discussed how many we'd transfer because we have elected to do assisted hatching.  Typically this is used for a number of things but one of them is when a couple has had failed IVF cycles with healthy embryos, and that's us.  Hence the Medrol that I'm taking to prevent any inflamation that could harm our embryos and their intentionally cracked zona.  Hammer and I are very encouraged and thankful for all of your prayers and ask that they continue as we wait till tomorrow to put our little "Ham"bryos back where they belong - at least for 9 months.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Fert Report - Prayer needed

Well of the 9 eggs we retrieved, 7 were mature but only 4 went on to fertilize normally (1 abnormally & 2 did not fertilize).  We will have our transfer on Sunday.  Please pray for our four little embryos that they continue to grow and divide normally!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Trigger and So Much More

Last night we had everything set up to do our trigger at 10pm. We were lounging around on the couch watching a movie in our pajamas when my cell phone rang at about 8:30pm. It was one of our good friends who live in town. Hammer has known the husband since high school and the two of them moved to our current city around the same time when looking for their first jobs. As couples we've been close for many years now so it was not unusual for the wife to give me a call.

What was unusual was the frantic voice that I heard on the other end rambling on about ambulances and if we could watch the kids. Apparently her husband was having a late dinner and somehow a small chicken rib bone slid down his throat. He could get some air through but they had to call the ambulance as the bone was very far down. We immediately told her we were on our way over to watch the kids.

When we got there the paramedics were able to get a good portion of the bone out but our friend still felt like there was something lodged in his throat. So they went to the ER to get an X-ray and rule out any remaining bone fragments while Hammer and I tried to calm the kids down and get them back to sleep.

They have a 3 year old and a four month old who were obviously woken up to the sound of sirens and 6 men trampling through their house. Strangely enough we were able to get the 3 year old calmed down the fastest, probably because we could reason with him a bit letting him know that his daddy was alright and just 'getting a check up.' He was out by 9:30 which gave us enough time to do the trigger at exactly 10pm. The baby was just totally rattled and it took till about 12:30 am before I finally was able to get her to fall asleep. Our friends came home around 2am with news that the did find an additional bone fragment in his throat and were able to remove it with a scope while he was under sedation.

So while everything ended well we are exhausted. I had to call in late to work since my normal time to get up is 5 am and less than 3 hours of sleep is just not going to cut it. That and it took me forever to fall asleep because we were both wound-up. At 8am I woke up to do the HPT trigger test so that I could call the clinic by 8:30 with the results. I tried going back to bed but my phone rang again and it was my clinic calling with my TSH results. I have to say I'm a bit perplexed by them. They tell me they want my TSH below 2.5 but when my results came back slightly over 2.5 they said it was fine. How can it be fine if it will continue to rise above 2.5 with my increasing estrogen? She said that they can retest at the beta blood draw but as I understand you need it below 2.5 to implant so what if it's too high to implant which makes the next blood draw null and void? I tried to argue logic with her but it was going no where and it probably didn't help that I was still very, very groggy. Time to enlist the help of my medical family and call my brother the nurse practitioner for advice. But first I to get ready for work. Hopefully our retrieval day will be much less eventful!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Better. That was the overall assessment for today. And I’ll take it. I had another RE today but this one was the happy-go-lucky RE. I think it’s exactly what I needed. I didn’t need the fatherly face of my concerned RE but a hopeful one and that’s who I had today.

I compared my current count to our more successful IVF #2 and we’re not too far off.

L= 20, 20, 17, 16, 16, 13

R= 19, 15, 10

Lining = 10

E2 = 1,915

IVF#2 at this point had 19, 17, 16x4, and 12. We retrieved 8 mature follicles and 7 fertilized. I hope that my E2 being higher than ever means the healthiest eggies yet. I also requested to have my TSH/free T4 checked today just to make sure everything is just perfect for implantation.

So we are scheduled to trigger tonight for retrieval on Thursday. Please be praying that our estimated 6-7 follicles are all mature, that they fertilize and that we have healthy embryos for transfer on Sunday.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

What to say....

Well the theory still stands, 'What I see on follie check #1 is what I will have"  But today during the ultrasound while Mr. Hammer wrote down all the measurements the RE was making, I was just sitting there singing a worship song in my head.  I actually had a moment where I realized I didn't hear what they were saying because I was so focused on my song.  Weird.  I suppose it was a good thing because the news was not showing improvement just status qou.  I did have a moment where I teared up afterwards but I think overall this is about as good as we can expect.  There really is no explanation for my right ovary's lack of response so I'm just going to accept it and continue to pray for a miracle this cycle.  I've heard of women with fewer follicles than me get pregnant and women with more follicles than me end up not pregnant.  There is no way to know the outcome at this point and it's all in bigger, more capable hands than mine.

I have one more follicle check on Tuesday and we were guaranteed to trigger that night.  So our retrieval will be Thursday and I'm pretty sure we'll have a 3 day transfer again which will be on Sunday the 10th.  Our prayer is that both Hammer and I have done all we can to create healthier eggs and swimmers.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Progress Report

I had my first blood draw and ultrasound today. Mr. Hammer and I were both prepared, pen in hand, to write down all the details. In walks a RE I rarely work with. He is very nice but not as detailed as we have been used to. So I have no idea what is going on in there other than that there are 6 follicles on the left side and only 2 on the right. Why righty is so bare at this time is unknown to us especially since she had the larger amount of antral follicles. He kept saying that we can recruit more even though Mr. Hammer kept repeating back that what we see at the first ultrasound is what we get. Then the RE switches to how they were at least all the same size so hopefully they keep growing at the same rate. I hope so too because that was our issue with the microdose lupron cycle.

I know that I do have an issue with one ovary being more dominate than the other. And it changes each cycle, so one time lefty is the good one and the next righty is the good one. I guess it’s lefty’s turn this time. At least all 6 of the antral follicles we saw in her have come out to play. I’m not going to hold my breath that righty will pop out the other five in time to catch up because we couldn’t even see the ‘buds’ of developing follicles and I have a history but you never know, right? I wonder too if righty might not be as healthy as we think because she had the endometrioma spot on her. So I do hope that maybe having lefty hold the majority will be a good sign if it’s the healthier ovary.

What I am going to do is take this lack of details as a sign that I don’t need to worry about those things and just focus on praying for the follicles that I have. It is a bit more peaceful in some ways knowing that no matter what happens we are going forward with the retrieval and that this really is the last cycle. I thought I would be more emotional but I think that will come later depending on the outcome. I really feel like right now I am just taking things as they come and since I can’t change anything or fret over what we’ll do next cycle it’s rolling off my shoulders a bit easier than before.  If this had been any of the earlier cycles I don't think I would have been as calm with Mr. Laid-Back RE but today I'm just not going to get worked up over it.  I have follicles (period).

So my prayer over the next few days is for my eight follicles to be healthy and that all of them are mature of retrieval.

Today at lunch I went down to the fitness center at my office. They have an open area away from the treadmills and weights where there is a TV. I plugged in my yoga podcast and pulled some privacy screens out so that I had my own little make-shift yoga studio. It was so nice and peaceful to do yoga. I meditated on all my follicles growing evenly and my right ovary producing more follicles and I prayed over my current follicles that they would be healthy and praised God that he has already picked out the follicles that will be transferred and with His blessing will be our little one. It was such a nice lunch break; I can’t wait to do it again tomorrow.

I also have been loving the Gonal-F pen! It’s like all these blogs I’ve read with women on Gonal or Follistim have talked about the stims being relatively easy. Well I can tell you that Bravelle is a pain. Each vial has to be mixed separately and it’s such a process because you have to use the drug immediately after mixing so nothing can be done ahead of time. It would take me forever in the morning to administer my meds. Now I just dial, pull, stick and click. I feel like I’ve joined this elite IVF drug club and it’s wonderful. I have no idea if using this drug will be any better but even if it’s not this is SO worth it. And even better, my copay was the same!

Friday, September 17, 2010

‘E’ is for Exhausted

‘E’ is also for Estrogen, which I have little to none of right now and is cause of the aforementioned exhaustion. Who knew just how important estrogen was on your energy levels until you take a drug that tells your body to stop making it. Do I remember being this tired on the long lupron protocol? The other problem is that lack of estrogen also affects your memory so…I can’t remember! It’s just too funny. Thank God for acupuncture appointments because A) I get a 30 min nap twice a week and B) the treatments help me sleep a bit better for about a day or two. 

The other thing 'E' is for is *Eurp* which is the sound the body makes when it’s about to *ahem* …lose its lunch. Now on IVF#3 I do remember feeling that way very, very clearly but it was due to the dexamethazone with both Hammer and I were on. We could not wait until we were finished. Between the two of us, I think we ate 1 ½ boxes of saltine crackers in a week to try and keep the nausea at bay. So all I have to do is remember how bad I felt last cycle and this nausea is totally manageable. 

So I have my suppression check next Tuesday and from all the symptoms above I think I’m going to be suppressed. Plus let’s recall that with my last three IVF’s I had E2’s all under 15 (yes I said 15 not 51, I get REALLY suppressed) I think they want you anywhere between 25-75 but I lost the argument with the RE about pulling back on the lupron a bit. Whatever; just give me my stims on the 25th so I can get this E2 back up and start getting some decent sleep. I know that the only timing difference between the microdose lupron protocol of IVF#3 and long lupron is the extra week between stopping the BCP and starting the stims but when you are this tired it feels like an eternity. It’s like the key to feeling rested lies in a vial in my fridge but I can’t use it for a whole 2 weeks. Basically my fridge is taunting me every time I open it, “Ha Ha I have your Gonal and you can’t have it.”

It might also be because we are just both ready for this cycle to be over with and the outcome known. So I guess ‘E’ is also for Expectations. It’s hard to be really excited about this cycle. Can God still let us get pregnant this time? Absolutely! If we didn’t believe it we wouldn’t be doing another cycle. But it’s so different going into a fourth cycle versus a first cycle. And I also think its different going into this cycle after a miscarriage. I don’t have the first time giddiness, I don’t have the desire to buy baby items ‘just in case,’ there is a cautiousness that I haven’t had before. I was talking with an IRL friend who is also going on five years of TTC with a history of miscarriage and we were literally planning what was going to happen after our cycles AND THEY HADN’T EVEN HAPPENED YET! How horribly wrong of us. It’s like saying to God, “Yes God I know you gave us the green light on this cycle but instead of spending my time praying and believing that you could make this cycle work I’m going to plan for what comes next.” I totally know it’s a survival method to protect myself from disappointment and to give myself hope for a future if it ends badly, or worse, in another miscarriage. I’m so glad I caught myself doing it and was able to stop and remind myself that by planning ahead I’m not praying for the eggs that I will be growing that COULD be our baby. I think I needed that wake up call. I know I’m not going to be giddy with excitement like the first time, I know I’m looking at this from a more realistic perspective, but I also know that God is bigger than my fears and doubts. He’s asked us to take this step with Him one more time so in faith we are doing it. I think I just need to 'mentally' move forward one step at a time, focus on what is going on right now and be in prayer about it. And then when we accomplish that step, we’ll move on to the next. So suppression accomplished? Check. Next step, follicles (which start with ‘F.’)*

*Hey my last two blog titles are in alphabetical order (D= Vitamin D, E= Exhaustion) so why not, ‘F’ is for Follicle? Too bad I skipped over A, B, & C. Oh well.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Getting my ‘D’ on

I don’t know how many of you have heard of the recent study strongly correlating Vitamin D levels with increase success rates in IVF. This article was published in Fertility and Sterility just this month. To summarize, they had 84 women undergoing IVF participate. Of those women they saw a 6% increase in clinical pregnancy for every ng/mL increase in serum Vitamin D levels regardless of age, race, weight or number of embryos transferred.

Experts are saying that serum levels between 50-70 ng/mL are more optimal and this is higher than standard "normal" levels. So now I’m self medicating. I’m taking 4,000 IU of vitamin D for 1 week and then dropping it down to 2,000 through beta #1 pending a successful cycle where it will continue.

*I've fixed the link
**I found 2,000 IU pills at my local grocery store
***I haven't had the chance to talk to my RE yet about it since I just found out on Friday but I figure it won't hurt and with my background as an RD I feel comfortable self prescribing. Seeing that they've given 4,000 IU to pregnant women I'm not too concerned.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Timeline for IVF #4

Well I officially got my calendar from the clinic and have updated my status bar.  We will really be cutting it close to our vacation day.  But I did a little searching and there is a Que.st Diag.nostics lab in Ma.rco Isla.nd, FL so we won't have to worry if blood work is needed while we're out of town.  Now if I can just convince Hammer to get on a plane...we'll have to see about that.  So far the BCP have been easy with just a little nausea but not too bad.  I have my meds all set up to arrive on Wed so I'll be good to start the lupron on 9/6.  IVF #4 here we come!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Say “hello” to my little friend…

Saturday night I went to bed feeling completely normal with no signs of AF to be found. Sunday morning I woke up, went to the bathroom and discovered she had crept in while I was sleeping. I have never been so happy to see her in my entire life. I called my IVF RN right away to alert them to my cycle start but since it’s the weekend I know I won’t hear from them until Monday afternoon. The best part is that my day 3 FSH will be on Tuesday, which is the BEST possible day to have to get that lab drawn!! I can already see God taking care of us. And of course now I feel very small that I was so worried on Saturday. Yep still human. I still don’t know for sure if we will be on track to take our vacation to FL but if my rinky-dink calculations are somewhat accurate we just might make it. Hopefully I’ll get our schedule this week!

So today I start my acupuncture appointments. And just in time too, I was really missing my afternoon naps!!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Waiting Game

Well I know almost for sure that this cycle is a bust, I think. Actually I'm not really sure what to think. I THINK today is 14 days past ovulation so I THINK I should be getting my period either today or tomorrow. I really need this cycle to start on time for a couple of reasons.

1) I have to get a day 3 FSH prior to starting my BCP. Doesn't seem like a big deal except that I have two acupuncture appointments this week and we're leaving for Canada on Thursday. If AF doesn't come on time I'll either have to cancel one of my appointments or figure out if there is a lab near the boarder that will take my insurance. I might just call my RN once AF arrives and ask exactly how necessary the FSH is at this point.

2) Hammer and I were invited to stay in Marco Island with his aunt in October. Our concern is that if we don't start this cycle on time we'll end up missing out on the trip because our transfer will be that same week. Obviously the transfer is the priority but who wouldn't want to spend their 1 -1 1/2 week wait by lying on a beach.

Right now I don't feel at all like I'm going to start soon and that is making me quite nervous. I even had a script for prom.etri.um but my RE did say that if I O'd on the script my body would still be controlling when my period started. Basically, I'd be in this situation with or without having taken the prom.etri.um. *sigh*

Dear Ute,

Please, for once, cooperate with me. I'd like to think that you would want to get this show on the road as much as the rest of me. I know these past few months haven't been easy and what I'm about to do to you might end up in 9 months of housing a small human but if you read your job description you'd notice that was part of the deal any way. I can't promise that you won't go through another miscarriage (which was not fun for either of us) but if it works it will be worth it. What I can promise is that I'll never turn you into the octo-ute.


Mrs. Hammer

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Well that was unexpected

With my first natural cycle after IVF #1 I knew I didn't ovulate.  My RE seemed skeptical but I assured him that I knew my body and there was no way I ovulated.  This was later confirmed with a blood test. 

With this cycle I was prepared and walked out of our WTF appointment with a lab order in hand.  He also told me that he could go ahead and write a prescription for prometrium and forgo the blood test but I wanted to see what my body could do on it's own.

By the morning of cycle day 16 and 6 negative OPKs I gave in and called the RN to ask for a prescription to be called in, seriously why delay IVF #4 if I know it's not going to happen.  If I haven't ovulated by this point it just wasn't going to happen.  But wait...what was this?  Fertile quality CM?  Are you kidding me?  Literally 6 hours after I called the RN.  The next day I was staring at a little smiley face on my CBE digital OPK.  I was shocked.  Fortunately I had held off on taking the progesterone to see what would happen after my discovery in the bathroom.

I really can't believe I ovulated.  And it makes me wonder if I was under suppressed on the microdose which could have caused all the erratic follicle sizes.  There is no way to know but at least we get one more shot at a natural cycle.  Otherwise we are scheduled to start BCP the last week of August.  Just a bit delayed since I ovulated 3 days late. 

Monday, August 2, 2010

Acupunture and Infertility

For Q&A #3
Amber asked: how has your experience with acupuncture gone? I have my first appt. Friday. Could you give me a little insight into what they actually do and where? Also if you don't mind how much do you pay per session?

I absolutely love doing acupuncture. One of my friends who is a 2xmother after successful clomid + IUI turned me on to it. For her it was the only thing that made her ovulate as clomid alone was ineffective. I started doing acupuncture with our second IUI. If it wasn’t for the sessions I would have never pushed for the lap to remove my endometriosis. It gave me amazing pain relief for my cycles and I realized that I had been miserable for years. After my lap I felt like I had a new body. She also pushed me to get my thyroid checked out because research has shown that TSH over 2.5 reduces fertility. Now my RE’s office has an official TSH policy for all of their patients because of her.

Typically for IUI you lie on your back and they put needles into points in your calves, stomach and wrist. My Acupuncturist will also ask about stress, headache or sleeplessness and do extra points in my forehead and ears if needed. Inserting the needles hurts less than getting a finger prick for a blood test. If you have a good person you should hardly feel it at all. The ears do hurt a bit more but it's really not bad at all. There are usually 1-2 sessions pre-ovulation and one post ovulation. I pay $75 for a 45 minute session but I think the first session I ever did was $90 minutes because she did a whole health assessment before doing points.

Because acupuncture for IVF is twice a week for a month she lowers her rate to $60. My first IVF cycle I didn’t include acupuncture and I will never make that mistake again. It was a mandatory naptime twice a week during IVF and kept me so calm and rested compared to the first time. The points are totally different. You lie on your stomach and get needles in the back of your calves, hips and wrists. The calves and hips then have a low current run through them which is supposed to increase blood flow to the pelvic area. The sessions stop right before retrieval. And then the day of transfer she does a session pre and post transfer on the same day. These treatments are done in your stomach to prepare the lining for the impending embryo. They say it is like planting a seed; the first session is to create the hole for the embryo and the second is to cover up the embryo. There are very well documented studies that show 10 treatments of low current acupuncture and pre/post transfer acupuncture have a significant positive affect on IVF pregnancy rates. We’ll definitely be doing acupuncture again for IVF #4.

I love my acupuncturist because all she does is fertility related and she mixes Eastern treatments with Western medical. She’s always up to date on the latest fertility studies AND I think she has excellent needle technique as it’s not uncomfortable in the least.

*As before if you have any other questions for me just leave them in the comments and I will do a post about them.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sp.erm DNA fragmentation: what's next

For Q&A #2
Mrs. Katia asked: I'm wondering, though, if you ever re-checked Mr. Hammer's sperm fragmentation after a few months on the supplements? We might have the same problem here, and my husband is on pretty much the same stuff! I was excited to see that. However, we aren't going to send in his sperm before trying again. I'm just curious if you know there was a difference in the dna integrity or if you're hoping like we are. Thanks!

Excellent question and one we’ve been debating about for a few months now. Prior to our cancelled IVF cycle #3 we were set on not checking. The reason was because the decision would not change if we were doing IVF or not. But now that we’ve had a chemical pregnancy via IVF to IUI conversion we’ve become more curious about whether all these supplements have been effective. We’ve never had ANYTHING happen with our 5 other IUI’s. And we have time to get it checked prior to IVF #4. Being faced with the very real possibility that IVF will not work for us has made us wonder now, with supplementation, if we could ever get pregnant on our own. And the chemical pregnancy has given us some hope – crazy huh? Will that stop us from IVF #4? Nope. But if we have to move on to adoption it’s not like we’re going to stop trying on our own. The question then comes, do we stop the supplements? If they work, then the answer is no. But how will we know if we haven’t tested! And that is why we are now thinking it might be worth another check. Plus we’re currently on my insurance which will pay for 60% of the cost. Not too shabby when you consider that almost everything else is out of pocket.

So it’s very possible that in August we might be retesting Hammer’s DNA fragmentation. For those of you reading that are thinking, “What on earth is she talking about?” Don’t feel in the dark! This is a very rarely tested sperm analysis. We only got it tested because we kept getting gorgeous day three embryos to transfer that would end up in BFN or miscarriage. Typically the egg DNA drives the first three days of cell division, after that the sperm DNA kicks in and if it’s no good then there is no baby. Here is an excerpt from an article in RESOLVE about SCSA (the DNA test):

  • "Sperm DNA fragmentation has little or nothing to do with the parameters that we measure on the routine semen analysis. It has little to do with the shape of the sperm or whether the sperm are moving. It is a completely independent variable. Men with otherwise normal semen analyses can have a high degree of DNA damage and men with what was called very poor sperm quality can have very little DNA damage. More importantly what has also been demonstrated is that the degree of DNA fragmentation correlates very highly with the inability of the sperm to initiate a birth regardless of the technology used to fertilize the egg such as insemination, IVF or ICSI. Sperm with high DNA fragmentation may fertilize an egg and embryo development stops before implantation or may even initiate a pregnancy but there is a significantly higher likelihood that it will result in miscarriage. By testing for sperm DNA fragmentation, many cases of formally “unexplained” infertility can now be explained. Many of those couples who have been previously unable to conceive with what would be considered extreme measures have been diagnosed with high sperm DNA fragmentation and treated. It is now very clear to see that having this information about the quality of the sperm can be tremendously helpful to couples and their physicians."

Hammer’s family has a history of infertility on his father’s side so when everything looked good but left us empty handed we pushed for this test and TAH-DA! 48% fragmentation, which is really, really bad.

<15% normal
15-30% good to fair = IUI or IVF for higher % in the range
>30% poor = IVF w/ICSI

If you want to read more about it, Conceive This!, wrote a really great post about it. And then there is also this website where I took the excerpt from, that provides another explanation.

So what causes it?
  • "The causes of high DNA fragmentation are those same causes of male factor infertility that we have known about for years such as chemical/toxin exposure, heat exposure, varicocele, infection, age, smoking, testicular cancer, radiation, and anything that increases the free radical levels in the semen among a list of many other things. It is very important to understand that sperm DNA fragmentation can change with time and it can be improved in many cases. The goal of a male factor evaluation is to seek out the causes of poor sperm quality and try to correct them so conception can occur naturally or to improve the sperm quality for IVF and maximize the chances of success."
How we have been treating the problem: (Hammer’s Supplements)

-Vitamin C 1000 mg (500 mg morning and evening)
-Vitamin E 800 IU (400 IU morning and evening)
-L Acetyl-Carnitine 1 gram
-L Carnitine 1 gram (morning and evening)
-Pycnogenol 100 mg
-Co Q-10 75 mg
-Centrum’s One-a-Day Men’s Health

In addition to vitamins we are both drinking antioxidant smoothies:

1 oz acai juice
1 oz pomegranate juice
1 oz frozen wheat grass
½ cup organic blueberries
½ cup organic orange and/or pineapple juice
½ cup organic yogurt
2 tbsp raw honey

I will say that, for myself, after 6 months of drinking these smoothies, plus a multivitamin and 100 mg Pycnogenol I went from having questionable antral follicles on my left ovary to having excellent numbers on both sides with my left better than my right! So if it worked for me I really hope it worked for Hammer.

*As before if you have any other questions for me just leave them in the comments and I will do a post about them.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Old Plan, New Twist

For Q&A #1
Karaleen* (Kdactyl) asked: "Are you going to insist on a different protocol or see another RE? I know you are concerned about response and the fact that your current RE has not changed much up to try for a better result..."

Our meeting yesterday went well. After giving things some thought and a ‘pre-cancellation’ conversation I had with my RE, we came to a decision that we hoped our RE would support. Hammer still wants to continue at this clinic so nothing has changed there. I didn’t want to do another microdose cycle since this last one was such a disaster. We concluded that we’d like to go back to what we did with cycle #2 because at least we got 8 mature eggs and a pregnancy from it. And since this IS our last cycle it was better just to do what we know worked rather than try something new again and end up with another disaster.

The good news is that our RE started off the meeting with the same suggestion. He didn’t think another microdose cycle would be a wise decision. I was happy about this because he had initially been talking about that during our ‘pre-cancellation’ conversation. I also wanted to explore dropping the lupron a bit so instead of 10 and then down to 5 maybe 8 and then down to 4 or 5 and down to 2.5. He wasn’t supportive of that suggestion because he felt that giving me 6 vials a day of stims (450 IU) would overcome the suppression enough to hopefully get us 10-11 mature follicles. I was disappointed to hear this and honestly I’ve been mentally contemplating being ‘lazy’ with my doses and self adjusting it anyway – is that bad? I do fear that if anything went wrong I would totally blame myself and I’m scared for anything to go wrong because this is it, seriously this time. Unless the clinic cancels me we are going ahead with retrieval and hopefully transfer.

I also picked his brain as to if he thought I had diminished ovarian reserve or was a poor responder. I was pleased to hear that he didn’t put me in either category but did say that I might be one of those people with insensitive FSH receptors. But that seems unlikely since my FSH has always been normal – also his opinion. Even he said with my AMH he would have guessed 3 vials a day would have been enough. So instead he said it’s like I have the ovaries of a 36 year old. Funny, I’ve know lots 36 year olds who rock the stims. In fact I know more that do than don’t. Oh well. I guess I was always mature for my age emotionally so why not add my ovaries into that category.

So mid August we’ll be starting our last cycle by trying to recreate cycle #2 with a happy ending this time. BCP, 10 u Lupron – then down to 5 u, 6 vials of Gonal-F/d, and 1 vial of Luvaris/d.

Ok now a slight confession (please don't be mad):

My test wasn’t totally negative on the 16th but it was very faint (FRER) and it was also only days 9 post booster and not the recommended 10 days. Why the IVF nurse had me test a day early I don’t know but my RE’s nurse told me to test again the next day. I did and while it was still positive it was also lighter. I tested Sunday and Monday as well watching the line fade more each day. Finally this Wednesday AF made her appearance. When the RE asked when I had started he was surprised to learn it was ‘late’ compared to what he had anticipated. He confirmed that we likely had a chemical pregnancy. Hammer and I are just going to take this as good news that my tubes are open and his boys reached their target. Also we never had anything happen with our five clomid IUI’s so maybe these vitamins are working. It also reassured us again that cancelling was the right decision; those eggies might not have been the healthiest since my body really didn’t like microdose lupron. It also opened Hammer up to the possibility of seeing a local Dr that does NaPro technology if IVF does not work and we have to go on a wait list for adoption. I guess that’s a topic for another day but first I want to focus on IVF#4. So bring on more wheat grass smoothies and vitamins! Mmmm; yummy.

If you have any other questions for me just leave them in the comment section and I'll write up a post about it.

*I just had to tell you your name is SO pretty!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

IVF #3 Summary

I wanted to post the timeline of our second IVF cycle to close it out so here it is:

  • May 25 to June 2 - Take antibiotic (Mr&Mrs Hammer)
  • May 25 to June 14 - Take BCP
  • May 27 to June 25 - Accupuncture pre-retrieval
  • June 15 - Supression check E2 = 13, good antral follicle count on BOTH ovaries!
  • June 17 - Microdose lupron 20u 2x/d
  • June 19 to June 28 - Bravelle 225u (3 vials) 2x/d
  • June 23 - follie check #1 R - 9,8.5, 7 L - 8, 8, 7, 6 lining 5mm, E2 = 282
  • June 25 to June 28 - Add in Luveris 75u (1 vial) in A.M.
  • June 26 - follie check #2 R - 12.7 x2, 12.9 L - 11.5, 11.3, 11.1, 10.3, 8.2 lining 8.8mm, E2 = 871
  • June 28 - follie check #3 R - 21, 17, 15.5 L - 16.5, 15.5, 14, 12, 11 lining 11.5mm, E2 = 1592
  • June 28 - Egg retrieval cancelled due to poor response (~4-5 mature follicles). Trigger for IUI.
  • June 2/9 - Trigger
  • July 1 - IUI
  • July 5 - Accupunture
  • July 7 - HCG booster (1 ml)
  • July 16 to July 19 - HPT = Positive but line fades over the next 3 days; Chemical Pregnancy

On to our final IVF#4

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Q & A - Fire Away!

I've had lots of really great questions from some of my readers but haven't really figured out a good way to respond so I thought I'd do a Q & A session. I have three questions already that I'm going to do posts on from:

Amber @ Fertility Hiccups - Acupuncture: what to expect
Mrs. Katia - Sperm DNA fragmentation: what's next
Kdactyl - IVF#4: the plan

I'll be addressing Kdactyl's questions first because my "What-the-flip" (WTF)* appointment is tomorrow. So I"m just opening up the floor for anyone to ask me any question and I'll post a response.

*'What-the-flip" is how I say it because I just can't bring myself to say the f-bomb.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

Sorry for the delay in posting the winner of my giveaway.  The winner is....

Amber at Fertility Hiccups

Congratulations Amber.

Leave me a comment with your mailing address and I'll send you your prize.

P.S. Don't worry I won't publish your address :)

Friday, July 16, 2010

A Long Shot

That's what we knew this IUI was, a long shot.  So today we were not overly surprised that the HPT was negative.  We're both at peace with our decision to convert IVF#3 to IUI and are hopeful to give IVF#4 one last final try.  Thank you all for your prayers and support!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

7dp IUI and a Giveaway

Today marks the half way point of our IUI converted IVF cycle; although, thanks to the HCG booster I can’t test for 10 days which would be 17dp IUI – Bummer. But! I don’t have to take any more shots which is awesome. Then again, I also can’t tell you if I’m having any symptoms because I still have trigger-boob-soreness, etc. I can definitely tell that my progesterone is elevated as I’ve had severe indigestion for the last 5 days making eating or sleeping impossible. That was identical to the last two IVF cycles. And you know what else nobody tells you? (TMI Warning) When you ovulate a crap-load of eggs and have multiple corpus lutems pumping out the progesterone you get major constipation. I thought that was just a weird side effect of PIO but no, it’s progesterone in general. I have been having cramping on and off yesterday and today. While it could be implantation it could also be the progesterone causing my ute to cramp (or gas pains! yelch).

Basically, I know nothing right now as far as what may or may not be going on down there. And my hope level is dependent upon how I maybe feeling at that particular hour. I do have moments where I think, “Nah, it couldn’t happen like this. I would be too easy! And after four years of infertility, people like us don’t get it easy.” But oh how nice easy would be!

Ok now onto the Give Away!

I received, Waiting for Daisy, from Hillary at Making Me Mom and while I read it right away I lapsed on getting out a giveaway post. (What can I say, I had a crappy 2009 = 2 deaths, 1 near death & a miscarriage).

It’s a nice, easy read about a real life couple dealing with infertility and eventually having a child. While I enjoyed the book and the hope that eventually our family will be complete even if it’s a long painful journey I wasn’t a fan about her mildly preachy ending. In summary she basically said that women get too worked up about not getting pregnant right away and run off to a RE, drop all sorts of money on procedures and tests when eventually they would have gotten pregnant on their own. Being a person who has dealt with infertility for several years and can safely say that we need help, that message kind of deflated the book for me. I worry that this message is what non-infertile people will take away from the book. But then, why on earth would a non-infertile want to read this? Basically, I wouldn’t recommend it to any of my non-infertile friends to help give them some perspective. But for infertiles it’s nice to know that someone who walked in our shoes has published a book about their struggles.

So on to the rules for the give way:

1. Leave a comment on this post*

2. Read the book

3. Have a giveaway at your blog to keep the book circulating

Now that wasn’t so hard was it? I’ll take entries up until my HPT day (July 16th) and then use Random.org to pick the winner. I’ll contact you to get your mailing address so you can receive your prize.

*If you want to leave a comment but not be entered in the drawing just let me know in your comment.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Two Cranky Ladies

Well we had our IUI yesterday and everything went really well. Mr. Hammer supplied some excellent numbers and quality as far as the troops were concerned. I actually felt myself ovulate from both sides around 1:00pm that afternoon, OUCH! So I think the timing was good. Unfortunately my girls are making me pay for shooting off way more follicles than occurs naturally. I feel like I’ve been bruised from the inside. I think they are cranky and telling me all about it.  I’m sure I’ll feel better in a day or so and from what I can remember it’s better than the retrieval (of course I was also on some really good drugs for that procedure).

We decided just to take the whole day off together. After everything this month we both felt we needed a mental health day. (And after feeling the eggs launch it was a good decision too!) I started thinking about my past IUI”s with clomid plus hcg trigger shots. I remember feeling ovulation pains around 10am the day after the trigger and thinking, “should I be ovulating already?” And then the next day when we did the IUI, I wouldn’t have any ovulation pain. When I did my first IVF I was panicked that I was ovulating the day before retrieval just as before but surprised to learn that they were all still in place the next morning. When I asked about this the RE on call said that lupron helps keep them in place longer. I know what I’ve read says you will ovulate as early as ~24 hours after the trigger without suppression but I’m just suspicious that my body had a mind of its own. Of course it’s all speculation and Hammer’s thought is that even if it was on time his boy’s would have been too genetically retarded for it to work. I hope that with a ton of eggs and vitaminized sperm that we can make it work this time. It’s hard not to have a little hope!

P.S. If we had gone through with the retrieval we would be 1 day post and getting our first fertilization report. Let’s hope there is some fert-magic going on in my tummy today!

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Convert

Today's u/s left us confused and with a big decision. We now have a lead follicle and 4-5 smaller ones just shy of 18mm (between 14-17). A bunch of little ones popped up but there is no way they will be ready in time ~7-8mm. With the lead follicle we can't keep stimming to get the smaller ones because it will launch on it's own ruining a retrieval. My RE said we'd be lucky to get 5 mature eggs. We're all scratching our heads at what could have happened to cause this. The good news is that my lining is now up to 11.5mm and my E2 is at 1592 which is the highest it's ever been.

Hammer was not willing to consider a 4th full IVF and so now that it's 4-5 vs 7-8 possible mature follicles I'm ok with IUI. With our past history of 5 failed IUI's with 3 mature follicle's our RE is not concerned about us ending up with a litter babies and our own reality TV show. Neither are we. So instead of getting all drugged up on Thursday for a retrieval we'll be doing the quick wham-bam,-thank-you-ma'm IUI. And to be honest with you I'm at peace with this decision.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

What you see is what you get

At this point I need to come to terms with the fact that I will never be the type of woman who will grow more follicles as I continue on stims.  Honestly I'm really disappointed and frustrated with my RE.  I feel like for the last three cycles all we've done is beat the dead Lupron+Bravelle+Luvaris horse and had minimal results.  Before we started this cycle I had been trying to get Hammer to consider going to a different RE but he was unwilling.  So here I sit for our final IVF cycle with the same minimal results on practically the same protocol.  This is not the end to our final cycle that I was hoping for and now I'm feeling like if this is it and it doesn't work I'm going to feel completely unresolved with moving on.

We actually had a long talk last night about what we should do.  Hammer only wants to go through one more full IVF cycle.  So that means if I want to try a totally different protocol we'd have to cancel this cycle pre-retrieval.  But yet it feels like such a waste to do so.  At this point we may get between 7-8 mature follicles and hopefully as many mature eggs.  I know that our clinic wouldn't even consider an IUI with that many follicles.  So I've asked Hammer to consider if this cycle doesn't work for us to try one more, and ONLY one more.  When you consider that our first cycle was a total bust, we've really only done two cycles (including this one).  I'd really like have walked away having done three cycles knowing that we did everything we could and right now I don't have that peace.  It was definitely an interesting conversation because Hammer came from the "I don't want to do anymore, I'm ready for adoption" direction and that since he was ready, we needed to move on.  So for me to explain how you can't go into adoption if one of us is unresolved so where did this, "I'm ready so therefore my opinion rules" mentality come from and I think it challenged him a bit.  And don't get me wrong this wasn't a fight just a discussion between us.

I apologize to all the women reading that would die for 7-8 follicles.  Being 31 with normal FSH, AMH etc. and on crazy amounts of stims it's been difficult to accept that this is the best I can do.  And with Hammer's issue we need as many follicles to find the one healthy combination of us both.

Here is where we stand as of Saturday (6/26):

R: 12.7mm x2, 12.9mm (3 total)

L: 11.5mm, 11.3mm, 11.1mm, 10.3mm, 8.2mm (5 total)

Lining = 8.8mm

I'm not sure that our 8.2 will catch up in time to be mature so we're maybe really looking at 6-7 mature eggs at retrieval.  Compare that to our last cycle where we had 9 follicles and 8 mature eggs and hopefully you can see why we are upset that this cycle is worse than the last one.

I have one more appointment on Monday for another check.  Right now they are talking about doing the trigger on Tuesday for a Thursday retrieval which is extending me out one day more than anticipated.  And at this point I'm still not bloated nor feel anything, weird.

Friday, June 25, 2010


Last cycle at this time I was so bloated I was miserable. Last cycle at this time I could feel the follicles growing. Last cycle at this time it was irritating if my cloths rubbed against my skin. Last cycle at this time it was nowhere near quiet in there.

But today it’s quiet and that makes me worried.

Tomorrow is follicle check #2, first thing in the morning.  And after that I'm indulging myself in a full body massage* for a whole 60 minutes.  And a manicure.  Because why not.

*My acupuncturist told me that massage has been shown to keep stress hormones down for 3 days.  And we all know that stress is bad for an IVF cycle.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Déjà vu – of the crappy kind

*Before I start, I am well aware this is early but my past IVF cycles have shown that what I see on scan #1 is what I see at retrieval.*

After my first follie check this cycle is looking just like cycle #1.  Hammer and I are literally preparing ourselves and praying over if we have to make the decision to cancel and convert to an IUI. It would be cheaper since at this point we are only out ~$50 bucks in meds, ~60 bucks in u/s, and ~$400 in acupuncture treatments.

I have no idea what could be going wrong! With the first cycle I thought maybe it was a combination of my messing up the stim medication + being overly suppressed. But now I just realized that for all of my normal FSH & AMH, I’m just a poor responder. And that is wholly dishartening.  I’m trying not to get discouraged yet at this point but our past IVFs just hang over my head.

I’m on an insane amount of Bravelle (450IU/d) + microdose lupron (40u/d) and here are my results:

R – 9mm, 8.5mm, 7mm

L – 8mm, 8mm, 7mm, 6mm

Lining = 5mm

7 total follicles, just like cycle #1 which ended up with a lead follicle and we only retrieved 3 mature ones. And this is less than the second cycle which went better but ended in a m/c.

For a comparison here is where I was at for the last two cycles on the same day:

Cycle #1            versus             Cycle #2

R – 1-13mm, 3 -<10mm         R – 12mm, 10x2mm, 9mm, 8mm

L- 2 -<10mm                               L – 12mm, 11.5mm, 9mm, 8mm

Lining = 6.5mm                         Lining – 7mm

This is why we are preparing ourselves for a possible IUI conversion. Since all the money is in the retrieval it would be better to call it off before that happens. We will just have to wait until Saturday to see what u/s #2 shows us from there we will be closer to a decision. In the best case scenario we have lots of extra little ones pop up that will possibly be in the running and so we would continue on based upon their best guess at a mature egg count. But worst case would be lead follicles and we would most likely convert to IUI. Now that our pharmaceutical plan has IVF med coverage it puts us in a place where we could talk about doing a 4th cycle if we have to cancel this one but we’ll cross that bridge if we have too. Right now we just need prayer for us to make good decisions based upon the results of our u/s over the next few days.

The only redeeming result of today is that my E2 was 282 which is the best it's ever been.  Although on average most women are around 500 by day five of stims.  In previous cycles I was 107 (#1) and 195 (#2).  So either that means I have a few more lurking around or that I'm just having a higher E2 because of all the meds. Your guess is as good as mine.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Stimming, technically

So yesterday I started my microdose lupron which is 40 mcg/mL vs 5mg/mL in standard Lupron. I have to take 20 U twice a day so it’s a very tiny dose of meds. Apparently when given in small amounts it causes the body to produce natural FSH for 2-3 days and then supresses the body just enough to keep the follicles in place until the trigger is given. So technically I started mini-stimming yesterday. And ladies, I can feel my ovaries waking up. I can tell you from doing two long Lupron protocols prior, I never felt this when I took Lupron before. I hope this is a good sign. I also hope I don’t end up with a lead follicle that screws everything up like cycle #1 either but I don’t want to get myself all worked up over the what-if’s. (But it’s so easy!)

Yesterday I did have a horrible migraine which I do remember was an issue before but I had an acupuncture appointment that day and she did some extra points – sweet relief! Today I am migraine free and feeling the tingling in my tummy. Bravelle starts tomorrow at 3 vials twice a day so I’m really going to start feeling it then.

On another subject, one of our IRL couples just had their second child. We are really excited for them and they have been very supportive and sensitive towards us. They had a little girl and held off on sharing her name until she was born. Unfortunately they used the girl name that Hammer and I had picked out. We didn’t share our choice with them so it wasn’t a case of name swiping but it did make us feel a bit sad. Mostly because if we could have had a child when we wanted to, and it was a girl, we could have used that name – infertility is so unfair! But then it feels just silly to be sad because we’d have to A) get pregnant first B) have a successful pregnancy and C) have the baby be a girl. Basically we would be jumping several steps ahead of ourselves. But there was a twinge and I just wanted to acknowledge it. Thanks for listening!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Cleared for Take Off

I had my E2 blood draw and ultrasound today and was given the all clear to start my meds. It was good news too. Normally I have very few antral follicles on my left side but this time I not only had a good count but it was even better than my right side. I'm actually starting to feel 'normal.' Maybe our time of rest, smoothies and synthroid have done my body some good! My E2 came back showing I was quite suppressed. They want you at least below 50 but I was at 13 on birth control alone. When I was on BCP + Lupron my E2 would come back as indiscernible i.e. barely any at all. That is why I wondered if I was over suppressed on my last two cycles.

In other good news I had received a letter back in January regarding my fertility med coverage, which I didn't have so I was confused by the letter. What we found out is that I now HAVE fertility medication coverage. The last two cycles we paid close to 2 grand for all of our meds. So imagine our shock when we got our total bill for this cycle (with more meds than ever before) at less than $55. We thought it was a mistake, it was too good to be true. But it was. Plus we got a few vials of donated Luvaris.

So Thursday I start my microdose Lupron and then stims start on Saturday. I feel like this cycle is just flying by so quickly!